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AMD nabs ex-Intel techie as server CTO

Driving Bulldozers to the future

homeless man with sign

Chip maker designer and seller Advanced Micro Devices said today that three weeks ago it nabbed Don Newell, a chip tech from rival Intel, to be its new chief technology officer for its server microprocessors.

The server CTO position has been vacant in the wake of the launch of the "Istanbul" six-core Opteron launch last summer and was most recently held by Mike Goddard, who was previously the CTO for client processors. Before that, Rich Oehler, one of the designers of the "Horus" symmetric multiprocessing chipset for Opteron machines from Newisys, was server CTO.

Phil Hester, the long-time IBM chip designer, CEO at Newisys, and formerly the top-level CTO at AMD, left that top techie job at AMD in April 2008 and the CTO post has remained vacant since that time, with different units appointing their own CTOs and reporting to group general managers.

Newell was most recently a senior principal engineer at Intel Labs, working on data center networking and system-on-a-chip projects. Newell spent 16 years at Intel, and was responsible for the I/O Acceleration Technology (IOAT) feature in the company's resurgent Xeon processors that were initially delivered four years ago based on the Core architecture. In helping to bring down the productivity of the Western worker, Newell was responsible for developing the first digital TV receiver for PCs and is co-author of the IETF RFC2429 protocol that transmits video over the Internet.

Newell has more than 20 patents under his belt and has published more than 60 papers on a wide range of topics. He got his BSc from the University of Oregon and cut his teeth at x86 SMP upstart Sequent Computers, a hotbed for Linux development and for chip manufacturing and research for Intel.

In his new role at AMD Newell will be responsible for defining the company's long-term server chip and chipset roadmaps. Newell reports to Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager of AMD's Products Group.

Bergman said AMD was fortunate to have Newell on board as it preps the "Bulldozer" cores for the future Opteron server chips, due in 2011, but at this point, the "Valencia" and "Interlagos" Opteron processors are fully designed and getting ready to sample by the end of the year and the work is largely done. What happens after Bulldozer - and taking the heat if something goes wrong - is Newell's job.

Newell's appointment follows on the heels of Manju Hegde, who was vice president of CUDA technical marketing at GPU maker and other AMD rival, Nvidia, being appointed in May as a corporate vice president of the Fusion Experience Program (sounds purple, hazy, and sticky). ®

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